“I live with dementia…in Chilliwack. Let me help you understand.”
Canadians affected by dementia are going public for a third consecutive year in an effort to change hearts and minds. People living with the disease, their caregivers and family members are courageously stepping forward with their personal stories in the Alzheimer Society’s nation-wide campaign, I live with dementia. Let me help you understand as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
“Seventy-five per cent of time I was working was spent on the road,” says Don Corbett, a resident of Chilliwack who was recently diagnosed with dementia. As a result of the disease, Don has chosen to stop driving after years behind the wheel while repairing phones for BC Tel between Yarrow and Boston and Bar, and later for Lifeline. “It’s probably the most dramatic change so far.”
Don and his wife Karen initially sought a diagnosis after Don began to experience memory problems. Soon afterwards, their daughter Kelly suggested they reach out to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Karen was initially concerned when they received the diagnosis and is getting used to the changes that come with dementia. “Sometimes it’s harder and sometimes it’s easier,” she says.
Because Don’s diagnosis is so new, they’re still grappling with what their dementia journey is going to look like. They have started attending Alzheimer Society of B.C. education, as well as Minds in Motion®, a social and fitness program for people in the early stages of the disease. “Everyone we’ve met is in a different place,” Don says. “It helps us understand how things are going to change.”
They’re working to adapt to their new reality, though. Having long been active people who love activities like dancing, they’re finding ways to stay active without Don driving. “We are close enough to things that we can still get around on foot,” Karen says. For the most part, the people they’ve encountered – family, friends and health-care providers – have been supportive and understanding while they process their situation. “We appreciate the people in our lives.”
Want to learn more?
Read the stories of more B.C. individuals and families who are affected by dementia and help us change the conversation!